15 Minutes Into the Future
Yesterday’s bonkers skydiving demo left plenty of gadget geeks–your Betabeat staff included–amused but intrigued. Google cofounder Sergey Brin announced that developers in attendance at I/O could order a $1,500 prototype to experiment with, but made it clear these weren’t market ready. Unacceptable! When can we expect the future to land on our face, Mr. Brin?
Luckily, Bloomberg TV got an answer out of him in an interview outside I/O: they’d likely hit the shelves in 2014. “Within a year after that I want to have broad consumer offering,” he told Bloomberg while wearing his own pair, complete with hilarious clip-on sunglasses.
At today’s Google I/O developers conference, Google cofounder Sergey Brin decided the best way to demo Project Glass, the augmented reality glasses we’ve been jonesing for since their introduction, was to throw people out of a plane. Seriously!
In a strangely Michael Bay-style demo, skydivers donned Google Glasses, jumped out of a plane and parachuted onto the roof of the Moscone Center, where the conference is taking place. Meanwhile, somewhere in heaven, Steve Jobs clenched his hand into a fist and shook it in the air, screaming, “Briiiiiin!!!!!!!”
In this month’s MIT Technology Review, journalist Farhad Manjoo got a chance to talk with a technology lead for Google’s Project Glass, Thad Starner. An associate professor at the Georgia Institute for Technology, Mr. Starner has been experimenting with wearable technologies since the mid-90s, and was tapped by Google to advise them on issues surrounding Project Glass, the company’s attempt to commercialize computerized glasses.
Ever the skeptical journalist, Mr. Manjoo went into the meeting expecting to find the glasses polarizing and detrimental to social interaction. Also: dorky and vaguely creepy. Instead, Mr. Starner successfully convinced him that Google’s glasses will actually amplify social interaction, stripping it of those awkward phone-checking asides and lulls in conversation when we go to respond to a text. In short, Google glasses could be a socially awkward person’s best friend. Sign us up!
15 Minutes Into the Future
Googlers are swanning about all over the place wearing their Project Glass specs, snapping pics with the president of Turkey and showing them off to Charlie Rose. And sure, it’s a pretty cool prototype. But can it help the search behemoth’s more awkward employees make sense of human emotions? Didn’t think so, Mr. Brin.
In a blog post yesterday (h/t Technology Review), Mark Changizi, director of human cognition at research outfit 2AI Labs, announced that the company has just received its first shipment of 02Amps, described as “patented eyewear that amplifies one’s view of the emotions and health visible in the color and pallor of other people’s skin.”
And they didn’t even have to raise money on Kickstarter.
The future isn’t quite as streamlined as GOOG might have us believe. Promotional photos for Google Glasses have revealed prototypes for Project Glass to be a little awkward, sure. Perhaps even a smidge La Forgian, if you will.
But new evidence uploaded by Sergey Brin on his very own social network highlight some undeniable heft in the posterior region where, presumably, the battery is stored. “Look how big Google Glasses are behind the ear,” wrote one alarmed commenter who posted the photo on Hacker News.
the future is now
Talk about eating your own dogfood. This isn’t exactly brand-new news, but we feel compelled to point out that it is, in fact, officially a real and true trend. It appears that high-level Googlers, including but not limited to the founders themselves, are actually running around in public wearing those augmented reality specs that are the fruits of Project Glass.
Back in April, almost immediately after the prototype’s debut, Sergey Brin was spotted at a charitable dinner wearing a pair. Other Googlers have been wearing them to media interviews.
And now, Wired reports that a Google employee has snapped a pic of CEO Larry Page at Google Zietgeist, wearing his own pair. (He uploaded and then deleted the photo, but not before it was already in Wired‘s hands.)
The Future Will See You Now
It’s well-known that all Googlers are brainiacs, but the Google X team represents the cream of the crop: some of the most elite programmers and thinkers in the company are handpicked for Google X, which is tasked with some of the most innovative projects Google outputs. The most recent manifestation of Google X’s collective brilliance? Project Glass, Google’s attempt at augmented reality glasses.